Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or any related characters. This was written out of enjoyment of the series, and no profit is being made.
Ships: (Romance) Hints - Toph/Aang. (Friendships) Sorta Gaang friendship all around. Also, Toph/Onji friendship. :D
The Floor Dance
"Wow," one of the two girls breathed. "They're both really good aren't they?"
Typical. Typical Twinkletoes. Just had to go and dance with Sugar Queen, didn't he? Just had to go and show off to that new girl, Onji.
Toph was not jealous. She was not. She was just a little upset that Aang wasn't showing his Sifu a little more respect. He could've at least asked if she wanted to dance.
She could dance. She hated doing it. But in terms of physical capability, sure, she could technically do it.
Oh, he was going to pay for his inconsideration. Once they were safe enough to practice some earthbending, Twinkletoes would be drilled so hard, by the end he wouldn't know what was made of dirt and what wasn't. Including Sugar Queen.
But she wasn't jealous. Nope.
"Do you think she's his girlfriend?" the girl named Onji asked.
"I hope not," her friend whispered back, and they giggled.
Toph blew a bang out of her eyes. How infuriating, how unbelievably…wait a minute.
She smirked widely. Sokka stopped glaring at the two dancers and glanced over to his little blind companion. He didn't like that look. He did the wise thing and shuffled away.
"Oh, no," she said loudly. The girls turned curiously towards her. "She's not his girlfriend," she waved dismissively towards the dancers in the center of the cave.
They hesitated. "Oh?" Onji asked.
She grinned. "I am."
"Oh really?" The girl who wasn't Onji suddenly seemed to have forgotten her flirtatious remark earlier and pulled her friend over to the table. They both sat. "I'm Kei and this is Onji. What's you're name?"
Toph straightened up. "I'm…" Then she smirked again. "I'm Kua Mei."
"Hello," Onji greeted politely.
"So," Kei spoke again and Toph could hear a challenge in her tone, "If you're Kuzon's girlfriend, then why is he dancing with that girl?"
"Oh, her? That's, uh, Dong. She's his cousin."
There was a silence from their end of the table. "Cousin?!" They finally ended up sputtering.
Toph swirled her cup. "Yup."
"We thought she was his girlfriend!" Onji gasped, horrified at their misunderstanding.
"No offence," Kei added.
"None taken," Toph said, and felt a little surprise. Aang hadn't been lying when he said these people were polite beyond belief. She continued her explanation, "Those two have been entering dance competitions since they were little."
"Wow," Onji said, leaning forward, "you must really know them well!"
Memories of sinking libraries, fishts banging on her earth tent, sleeping on bison fur, breaking into palaces, and fighting on metal ships flashed quickly through Toph's mind. She shrugged. "I guess you could say that."
"So, how'd you meet?" Kei's voice asked.
"Who? Me and Kuzon?"
Toph cupped her hand in her chin and pretended to be watching the dance. This was going to be a little tricky, but improvising was always a good skill to have.
"Well, you know how Kuzon came from the colonies in the Earth Kingdom? I used to live there too when I was real little. But, I was always really sick back then."
"Oh, with what?" Onji asked.
"I don't remember its name, but I couldn't leave the house. It made me really dizzy and infected my eyes. So my parents hired Ms. Fire to come see me at our house. She's an herbalist, healer, whatever you wanna call it. Kuzon and I are the same age, so back then he was too young to be left at home. Kuzon'd always end up coming with his mom. So while our parents talked about what herbs they could try on me, Kuzon and I'd play in the garden and do, you know, ordinary kid stuff."
The girls were lapping it up. They didn't doubt for a second that none of this was true. Toph had developed quite a skill for lying after years of fibbing to her parents about where she had gone sneaking off to late at night. Then again, she had had a long walk home to plan every part of the story. She only prayed she wouldn't mess this up and continued talking.
"After a couple of years, I finally got over my sickness. I retained my eyesight," she blinked into the never-ending darkness, "but, well, as my dad puts it, 'the spirits painted my eyes with a new brush.'" She lifted her bangs so the girls could see her pale, pupil-less eyes.
"Wow!" Kei gasped in awe. "But, you can still see?"
"Well," Toph folded her hands, "that's sort of why I moved back to the homeland. I recovered, but my eyesight kept getting blurrier and blurrier. Ms. Fire said that the, uh…heat back here might help me out. Our families had grown pretty close over the whole thing, but in the end, we had to say goodbye. That was four years ago."
Wait, a minute. Was the four years really necessary? You're getting too caught up in this Toph, her common sense whispered to her. Oh, quiet, another voice in her head stated. Let her have her fun.
"How come we've never seen you around here?" Onji asked, sounding confused.
She'd been expecting that. "I live further inland, but I came out to visit Kuzon a couple of weeks ago when I heard he moved."
"And?" Kei asked, practically bursting with excitement.
Toph blinked. "What?"
"You got together of course!"
"Oh, right, that," she mumbled. This was stupid. How could Twinkletoes be having a good time, and now when she tries to do the same, she feels guilty about lying? She just couldn't win tonight, could she?
"So, what's he like?" Onji asked curiously.
Toph blinked again. "Well…" She wrinkled her nose, and furrowed her brow. How do you describe Aang to someone who doesn't really know him?
"Come on, Onji! Wouldn't it be hard for you to describe Hide to someone?" Kei leaned forward and looked at her friend.
The blind girl could practically hear Onji blush in embarrassment. "Uh…right. Sorry about that."
Toph only laughed. "No problem. So," she rested an elbow on the table and leaned forward, "who's Hide?"
It wasn't long before Toph had almost forgotten about the two dancers, and the jealousy (which had never existed, mind you) was put into a drawer to be dealt with later. Right now, Toph wasn't in. Kua Mei was talking, just talking, with Kei and Onji. That was that, no doubt about it.
Until reality came crashing back down around them. Figures that the Hide she had been learning about would turn them in. Poor Onji. She deserved better.
After the whole mess with the headband and getting Aang snuck out, Toph sealed the tunnel in the back of the cave and walked to join up with the rest of her little family. Sokka ended up deciding that he and Katara would get Appa ready while Toph and Aang clear a tunnel with earthbending. Fine by her.
The two stood side by side at the wall, slamming their fists in perfect synch into the stone. The wall retreated several paces, and they walked up to it to begin again.
"So, Aang," Toph spoke up, "question."
He smiled at her (he was obviously in a good mood). "Shoot."
"Why didn't you ask me to dance?"
She wasn't sure if she was annoyed or scornfully joyous over his following silence. His next punch to the wall was a little off, but she could drill him later. The stone retreated and they both hesitated before walking up to it again.
"Well…to tell the truth Toph, I didn't know you liked dancing," he replied.
She could feel his confused gaze.
"It doesn't mean you couldn't have asked," she explained. She turned her head to make sure her bangs covered her face. He was making her uncomfortable with that stare.
Aang eventually mumbled, "Sorry about that Toph."
They continued tunneling in silence for a while, and something in Twinkletoes' body language told her he was thinking. After this oddly thoughtful silence he said, "You know what Toph? I have an idea."
Nothing especially new there. "Okay, Twinkletoes, what's up?"
"When all this is over," he was hesitant saying it, "you and me, we can create a whole new dance."
She perked her eyebrows. "What kind of dance?"
"An earthbending dance," he said simply. Then he perked up, grinning. "We can call it the Floor Dance!"
She let her eyebrows come back down into a withering look. "The what?"
He frowned. "Well…because at parties they call the area where everyone dances the dance-floor…But since it'd be earthbending, the floor itself would be dancing and...this sounded better in my head."
They slammed their fists into the wall again. He was in synch with her. Good.
She allowed a small smile. "Well, I guess after this whole thing is done, the world's greatest earthbender could take time to choreograph some dance moves."
And Aang grinned.
AN. Hoo, I haven't written Taang in a while, so this probably isn't as good as my other Taang stuff, Amazement or Power & Grace. And well, in my opinion, Dancing Hearts by ohsoxalive (see under my faves for a link!) is a lot better. It's not quite as optimistic, but it's still really really good. Go read it!
Yes, Toph got her "revenge" on Katara for using the nickname Dong in City of Walls and Secrets. Never, under any circumstances, make Toph Bei Fong jealous. Bwahahahaha...
Ahem. Anyway, dedicated to xcgirl08 for the huge amount of inspiration to get off my butt and write this plotbunny through her art inspired by Power & Grace. Go google her DeviantArt right now! She's an amazing artist, and I'm not just saying that. Seriously, I can't draw fingers without making them look like sausages. ;)